Japanese Transplants and Union Membership: The Case of Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation

By Laws, Joe; Tang, Thomas Li-Ping | SAM Advanced Management Journal, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

Japanese Transplants and Union Membership: The Case of Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation


Laws, Joe, Tang, Thomas Li-Ping, SAM Advanced Management Journal


The major purpose of the present paper is to discuss the failure of unionization efforts at the Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation (NMMC), in Smyrna, Tennessee. First of all, we will provide brief backgrounds on several subjects: the decline of unions in the United States in general, organizational culture, Japanese management philosophy, Japanese organizational culture, Japanese transplants in the United States, and the Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation.

Henry Ford began production of the original Model A in 1903. By the spring of 1914, Ford was turning out two products at his Highland Park factory: Model Ts and a continuous stream of enlightened industrial pilgrims. In the early 1980s, a new pilgrimage route emerged, with Japan as the destination instead of Detroit. Just as Henry Ford's mass production methods diffused throughout the world, the Japanese production method (lean production) and management philosophy began to spread (Davenport & Tang, 1996; Rhody & Tang, 1995; Womack, Jones, & Roos, 1990). This diffusion occurred in two ways: the Japanese built plants in the U.S., and the American producers adopted the Japanese lean production method and management philosophy.

Honda made the Japanese automobile industry's first serious foreign investment with its Marysville, Ohio, complex that began assembly in 1982. Nissan, Toyota, and Mazda soon followed. A total of 11 Japanese transplants and joint ventures between Japanese and American manufacturers are now in operation. These Japanese transplants assemble about 1.4 million cars annually on the American mainland, which will account for slightly more than 20% of the automobiles produced in North America by the end of the decade (Womack et al., 1990).

The Decline of Union Membership

For the past several decades, researchers and managers of human resources in the U.S. have witnessed an unparalleled overall decline in union membership (Singer & Tang, 1996). Economic, political, and demographic changes account for the dramatic decline since the 1950s. First, the economic climate of the country has experienced significant changes, including a shift from manufacturing to service environment, an increase in white collar workers and women entering the labor market, and an erosion of the traditional union labor base. Second, the passage of the Labor-Management Relations Act in 1947, the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, the defeat of the 1978 labor law reform bill, and the change in the composition of the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) membership by President Ronald Reagan have led labor decisions to favor management.

Third, an increase in tactics designed to combat unions, particularly the use of sophisticated anti-union consultants, has resulted in a decrease of almost 50% between 1980 and 1982 in the number of annual union elections held and the number of employees involved in these elections. Unions have lost 75% of decertification elections. Finally, there has been a decrease in demand for union representation by nonunion workers due to an increase in the satisfaction of nonunion workers with their jobs and a decline in nonunion workers' belief that unions are able to improve wages and working conditions (Farber, 1990). American unions have lost 5.2 million members since 1975, with 3.1 million of these losses occurring during the first half of the 1980s (Chaison & Rose, 1990). While unions at one point in our nation's history served their purposes well, some have come to believe that they have outlived their usefulness.

* The Union Quandary

GM Strike in 1996. "I'm depressed. I'm depressed. No money," stated the first laid-off worker, as Ted Koppell interviewed the strikers at the General Motors plant in Michigan on March 20, 1996 (Nightline, 1996). This worker's problem could be felt by thousands across the U.S. as the initial strike at a brake plant in Dayton, Ohio trickled down to every GM plant in the United States. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Japanese Transplants and Union Membership: The Case of Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.